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Are you a Canadian citizen considering a mortgage on a Florida property? If so, read on because we’ll tell you everything you need to know about foreign national financing in the Sunshine State.

Some say that getting a mortgage in the U.S. is a complex process, particularly for non-residents. But as someone who’s been a mortgage professional on both sides of the border for years, I can tell you that’s not true, assuming you have the right guidance.

This comprehensive guide will demystify the Florida mortgages for Canadians, helping you make an informed decision.

The Best Mortgage Advice You Can Get

My husband and I moved from Canada to Florida a few years back. We financed our first home, and boy, was it a nightmare. What I learned in that experience inspired me to never let this same thing happen to my clients.

I'll spare you the details but suffice it to say, the documentation process was like pulling teeth, the mortgage banker made numerous mistakes, the lender did not honour its initial rate guarantee, and there were surprise fees galore.

At Huli Financial, we hate surprises, and our clients do too. We go out of our way to stick handle the process to make the process feel seamless.

In that spirit, here are six things to remember when applying for a mortgage as a Canadian:

1. Consider all your options

If you have ample liquid assets in Canada, you can pay for a Florida property in Cash. Sellers like cash buyers, and it cuts down your initial fees. 51% of Canadians made all-cash purchases in 2022, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The risks are:

  • You may be able to earn a higher return investing that case elsewhere, versus tying it up in a property
  • Investors lose the tax deduction on interest expense
  • You may or may not time the currency exchange well, whereas a mortgage spreads out currency risk over time.

If you'll retain a Canadian property and have enough equity, you can also use a HELOC or equity take-out mortgage on your Canadian home to fund the Florida purchase. Our Canadian affiliate, whom we work closely with, can help you with that — as it's sometimes more cost-effective. It also lets you make payments in Canadian dollars.

2. Not all Florida lenders are created equal

Most lenders in the state will not lend to Canadian buyers unless they're permanent residents. The ones that will lend range from fantastic to horrid. Experience has taught us which lenders to avoid, and which want to make your experience a positive one.

As brokers, we can also connect you with lenders willing to provide common sense financing solutions designed specifically for foreign nationals and temporary U.S residents with harder-to-prove income situations.

3. Good credit helps

Lenders consider non-resident financing riskier, so they try to minimize risk by lending to creditworthy borrowers. You'll want to have a credit score over 700, assuming you want to avoid high rates and fees.

4. Get these documents ready

Most lenders will want to see:

  • A valid passport or proof of citizenship
  • A valid visa (for permanent residents who are not U.S citizens)
  • A drivers license
  • Proof of assets (e.g., 2-3 months of statements for each account you own)
  • Proof of employment/income (e.g., two years of T4s or T1 Generals)
  • Proof of down payment origin by way of two months bank statements
  • Homeowners insurance for any properties owned (with hurricane and flood policies if applicable)
  • Mortgage and property tax statements for any other mortgaged properties.

Income proof may not be required for non-prime investor financing or private financing.

The lender may also pull an international credit bureau to check your credit score and repayment history.

If you're buying in a trust, you'll need a copy of the fully executed trust agreement.

If you're buying in a company name, have a copy of the formation documents (e.g., articles of incorporation or fully executed LLC operating agreement), certificate of good standing and IRS employer ID number.

5. Get your down payment ready

Typically, non-U.S. resident borrowers and temporary residents of the U.S should expect a down payment amount of 25% to 30% of the purchase price. We have some lenders that can consider 20% for extremely well-qualified buyers. We also have lenders that are more flexible with 35%.

Some lenders consider applicants who use gifted funds from relatives for the down payment. However, a seasoning period may be required for gift funds, meaning the funds must be in your possession for a minimum period like 30 or 60 days.

Remember, buying a home in Florida can be a great investment opportunity, but it requires careful planning and consideration. Seek professional advice, understand the market, and choose the best financing options to make your move to the Sunshine State a successful one.

6. Choose a mortgage advisor who cares

Huli Financial is strategy driven, and the #1 thing we care about is your happiness. We're not transactional brokers who you never hear from after your property closes. We're here to support you anytime you have post-closing mortgage questions. And we remain a resource for all your future Florida property financing questions. 

One thing that sets Huli apart is that we care about minimizing borrowing costs. We have access to some of the best most reputable wholesale lenders in the business, including some with very aggressive rates. We compare all the dozens of lender options available to us to ensure you enjoy the most competitive costs possible.

If you're an investor, great! We love financing income properties. In fact, we have multiple clients who are serial buyers in Florida, some of which have built considerable property portfolios.

In Sum

For more information on securing Florida mortgages for Canadians, reach out to me, Melanie McLister, at Huli Financial. My team and I will guide you smoothly through the process and help you understand the most economical way to finance a Florida property.


Frequently asked questions

Here are the most common questions we get from Canadians contemplating a U.S. mortgage:

What are "points" and do I have to pay them?

Points are lender fees that lower your mortgage rate. And no, just because you're a Canadian getting a U.S. mortgage doesn't mean you have to pay them. We have many lenders that offer mortgages with no points, however it is common to pay points on investment properties so be prepared.

What term should I get?

Unlike Canada, where the most popular term is five years with a 25-year amortization, most American mortgages have 30-year terms and 30-year amortizations.

Although, when rates are high, a 3-year or 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) can make a lot of sense. U.S. three-year and five-year ARMs are just like Canadian 3-year and 5-year fixed rates, except the rate starts adjusting after the initial term.

What are other differences between U.S. and Canadian mortgages?

These are some of the more prominent differences:

  • Mortgages do not renew in the U.S. like they do in Canada. You have to refinance at the end of your term.
  • U.S. mortgages are open, meaning there's no penalty to prepay (any amount you want) or break the mortgage early. The tradeoff is that the closing costs are higher on Florida mortgages.
  • U.S. mortgages do not have free rate holds like in Canada. You have to pay to lock in a rate over 30 days. Some lenders do not charge for long-term rate locks, but their overall rates and fees are often higher.
  • U.S. mortgages are not portable from one property to another, like in Canada.
  • Mortgage interest is deductible on U.S. tax returns, for mortgages up to $750,000. (There is generally no limit on deductibility for non-owner-occupied rental properties.)
  • U.S. mortgages take longer to close. That's mainly because the U.S. market is more regulated and there are more steps. Budget on at least 45 days from the start of the application to closing.

How much should Canadians budget for closing costs in Florida?

Closing costs are very different in the U.S. (read, higher) than in Canada. Many such fees do not even exist in Canada, but they're required to close an American mortgage.

In general, you'll want to bank on roughly 3% of the purchase price in closing costs. This is usually enough to cover regular closing costs as well as prepaid items like insurance, homeowners association fees, prepaid interest and property taxes.

Here's a rough example of what closing costs might be in Naples, Florida, on a $500,000 mortgage:

Item Example    
Appraisal and appraisal desk fee $650
Credit report $75
Flood certification $15
Home inspection $300
Lender title search & insurance $500
Settlement fee $295
Owner's title insurance (optional) $2,005
Recording fee $125
Wire fee $50
Doc stamps & intangible tax $3,667
Attorney/notary fee $500
Survey fee $450
Lender underwriting fee $1,395
Condo approval fee (if applicable) $100

All of these fees vary, and a few may not apply. This list is not exhaustive. Our institutional lenders, like banks, have the lowest fees. Expect higher fees than above on non-prime (a.k.a. "Non-QM") financing.

Huli Financial will provide a detailed loan estimate that's accurate for your circumstances before you ever have to commit to a lender.

How much do you charge to arrange mortgages for Canadians?

That depends on which type of loan we go with.  If you are a fully income qualified buyer and meet all guidelines to qualify with a bank lender, typically they pay us directly.  This is refered to as "lender paid".  If however, a DSCR loan is a better fit for you because you otherwise would not qualify, our fees would be paid by the borrower, referred to as "borrower paid". In these cases our fees are 2% of the loan amount being requested up to $15,000K max as per our policy. Some lenders do allow the client to roll the fees into the loan itself so there are no out of pocket costs.  Rest assured, we want you to be a comfortable and confident moving through the deal and will review these costs with you in details before you ever put your offer. Being best prepare is best practice. Typical third-party fees that any typical mortgagor might pay as well apply as per the above sample chart.  

At Huli, all fees are always fully disclosed because we hate financing surprises as much as you!

What are reserve requirements?

Lenders generally require at least two months of cash reserves. In some cases, the most competitive lenders require six months. Reserves are a risk mitigator for lenders.

You only need to show proof. In most cases, you don't need to keep this money on deposit with the lender.

Can I buy cash and get a mortgage later?

You bet. It's essentially a cash-out refinance, and you can do it within six months of purchasing. The best part is, you typically get lower purchase financing rates.

Are there special programs for investors?

Yes! Huli Financial has access to a wide range of DSCR loans.

DSCR stands for debt service coverage ratio, and it's a type of mortgage, especially for rental investors.

In a nutshell, DSCR loans allow you to qualify with no personal income proof. Your personal debt ratios are irrelevant as long as you have great credit and sufficient down payment.

The main requirement is that the property is marketable, your credit is strong, and the rent covers the principal + interest + taxes + property insurance + HOA dues (if applicable).

We even have lenders that finance properties where the property is cash-flow negative (i.e., where the DSCR ratio is less than one). With them, however, the rate is a bit higher to offset the risk.

Do Canadians need a visa to buy property in Florida?

No, Canadians do not need a visa to buy property in Florida. However, a valid passport and proof of citizenship are required.

Can Canadians rent out their property in Florida?

Yes, 49% of Canadians say they buy U.S. homes for vacation use, but almost 1 in 5 rent their properties out (source: NAR). Note that Canadians landlord may need to obtain a vacation rental license from the state, and/or a landlord's license from the municipality. Also, note Florida's landlord responsibilities.

What are the tax implications of buying property in Florida as a Canadian?

Canadians buying property in Florida should be aware of reporting requirements, tax liabilities (property tax, income tax, capital gains tax and estate tax) and cross-border taxation issues. Here's a document that discusses some of the considerations. Always consult a licensed cross-border accountant or lawyer for tax-related advice.

Can Canadians Buy Property in Florida?

Absolutely, but they need a tax identification number, a U.S bank account (if they're getting a mortgage), and they must be aware of the fees and taxes.

Does it matter if I'm a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident?

Yes. Your citizenship/residency status can impact mortgage options. Whether you're a foreign national, a temporary resident, a citizen or a resident alien in the U.S, different loan programs and documentation requirements apply. Permanent residents may enjoy slightly better terms and lower down payments, for example.

Should I get a property manager?

A good property manager is invaluable for far-away owners. They can line up renters, be the tenant's first point of contact for problems, collect rent, inspect your property after renters leave, arrange cleaning and repairs, handle licensing and take care of annual reporting.

Also note that if you intend to manage your Florida property from Canada, there are specific regulations you need to comply with. These include appointing a Florida-licensed agent to represent your interests in Florida and providing them with a copy of your passport and proof of Canadian residency.

What are the best properties to buy?

That depends on what you like doing, what you plan to do with the property and how much you have to spend. Statistically speaking, 71% of Canadians who buy in Florida purchase detached homes while 18% buy condos.

Properties that are roughly 10 minutes from the beach or less are highest in demand. Although inland communities on golf courses or near lakes or attractions are also appealing. In Florida, almost all new developments have lakes, which significantly adds to their allure.

If the property is an investment, location is vital to rentability. Among other things, Huli will provide feedback on the lending value and rental yield of your target property, things that matters most to typical investors. 


Why Florida?

If you're reading this article, you've probably already concluded that Florida is the place to be. In fact, over half a million snowbirds already own in Florida, making it the most popular state for buyers from Canada.

Location                            Percentage of Canadian Buyers Who Chose to Buy Here
Florida 55%
Arizona 14%
California 4%
Louisiana 4%
Montana 4%
Nevada 4%
Texas 4%
Washington 4%
North Carolina 2%
U.S. Virgin Islands 2%
Vermont 2%

Source: National Association of Realtors, 2023

These are the top three reasons Canadians are drawn to Florida:

1. Weather Appeal

Florida isn't known as the "Sunshine State" for nothing. It gets 230 days of sun per year, and the winter months are the sunniest.

It's also famous for its beautiful beaches and world-class tourist attractions. This allure, coupled with a robust real estate market, makes Florida a top destination for foreign real estate investors.

2. Investment Potential

The Florida real estate market offers substantial investment potential. The state's real estate market consistently attracts international buyers and benefits from huge net migration. According to the latest U.S. Census, Florida ranks #1 in total net migration, with over 444,000 people moving to Florida in the latest year on record. That's a whopping 1218 a day, and that's net of people moving out!

Such a constant flow of incomers puts Florida real estate in high demand, and the trend shows no signs of letting up — which is exactly what investors like to see. This demand isn't just for permanent residences; many Canadians are also investing in second homes or rental properties. 

On a relative value basis, Florida also compares well. In places like Toronto, the price per square meter is a whopping $10,947. Compare that to the beautiful Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/Palm Beach region, where it’s just $3,310, according to a 2023 NAR report.

3. Tax Advantages

Another compelling reason to invest in Florida property is its favourable tax environment. Unlike many states in the U.S., Florida does not impose a state income tax, providing a significant financial advantage for investors.


Whether it's the climate or investment potential, Florida is a real estate market worth owning in. Let Huli Financial help you finance your dream home here, and minimize your stress.

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